I have complained for years that Salinger has infected my pen and, quite possibly, my tongue (the incessant deferrals, obsessive qualifications, twitchy paretheticals, etc., etc.) for better and ill. But, it was not until I read Rosenbaum’s reflection on Salinger’s silence (via) that I got a clear (albeit, controversial and guessed) diagnosis of the problem:
There is also a critical difference between the two finicky writers: Nabokov was a finisher. Look how many dozens of books he wrote in two languages in his life. True, he tried to burn Lolita. (It was saved only by his wife.) True, he was a perfectionist, but, I'd argue, one who came to recognize that there was a time finally to publish. That a work was, at a certain point, as perfect—as perfectly Nabokovian—as it would ever get. Salinger seems—in his parentheses-choked later works, at least—to believe he could never get as Salingerian as he wanted. And that his work had to be not as good as he could make it but as good as God could make it. Which suggests nothing can ever be truly finished. Maybe that's his problem.
I’ve come to the conclusion, after far too long, that perfection is simply finishing.